CBS Prime-Time Viewers Shrink 4.7% After Cable Shutoff

Still No. 1, and Way Up Over Last Year

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CBS Corp.'s broadcast network lost about 4.7% of its prime-time audience in the first week after a dispute with Time Warner Cable led to a blackout of about 3 million homes.

'Under the Dome'
'Under the Dome' Credit: CBS

CBS, the most-watched U.S. TV network, averaged 5.51 million viewers in the week ended Aug. 11, down from 5.78 million in the previous seven days, according to data supplied by Nielsen. The network's top-rated "Under the Dome" drama drew 10.4 million viewers, 1 million less than a week before.

As the blackout stretches into a second week, CBS viewers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas remain unable to watch the network's lineup or local stations. Time Warner Cable cut access to the media company's programming, including the Showtime premium channel, on Aug. 2 after failing to agree on subscriber fees for the broadcast network.

"The ratings impact from the blackout is estimated at only 1 percent," Chris Ender, a spokesman for CBS, said in an e-mail. "We were the number one network last week in all key ratings categories; I'd say we're holding up pretty well."

"Under the Dome," which began airing on June 24, has contributed to a year-over-year increase in ratings. CBS remained the most-watched network during the week of the blackout, according to Nielsen data, with viewership up 34% from the same week a year earlier.

"Right now they are doing OK," Brad Adgate, head of research for the advertising company Horizon Media , said in an e-mail. "If this impasse continues into the NFL and new TV season in September, their fortunes could reverse."

The Time Warner Cable subscribers affected by the blackout account for about 2.8% of U.S. homes with TVs.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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